Smith takes title after classic Taihape final

Story courtesy of Shearing Sports NZ.

In most people's minds reigning World Champion shearer Rowland Smith had a point to prove when he stepped up for the final of the Taihape A and P Show Open shearing championship today.

But it wasn't just one point – it was more than four of them as the surprise omission from the New Zealand team for next month's World championships in Invercargill comfortably beat a six-man field of the World's best, including black-singlet team members Nathan Stratford and John Kirkpatrick.

It was Smith's seventh win of the season and the 94th in an Open-class career in its 11th season.

It was also the first time the trio had shorn in a final together since the Canterbury show it almost didn't happen, with a points-scoring error having originally eliminated Stratford in the heats, which would have been a sharp reversal after the Invercargill gun's win in the national longwool ewes and lambshearing championships finals on successive days in Southland a week ago.

One who did disappear was 2012 World champion and Scotland representative Gavin Mutch, who knew his shear in the heats was not good enough to go any further and barely had to wait for the naming of the 18 for the semi-final.

Shearing in temperatures of over 30deg today, Smith on Stand 4 beat Kirkpatrick next-door by 16 seconds in the race for time honours in shearing the 20 second-shear sheep in 17min 14sec, an average of under 52 seconds a sheep caught, shorn and dispatched.

But Smith, who won his World title in Ireland in 2014, did it today also with markedly the cleanest job, by 2.9pts, contributing to an overall winning margin of 4.4pts. Feilding shearer and contractor Murray Henderson, who had the best board points, was third, with Stratford fourth, having finished 1min 21sec after Smith.

It was a special day for Milton woolhandler Monica Potae who while a regular top performer on the Open woolhandling circuit had her first win, in what was her first visit to the Taihape show. Beating former World teams champions Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Keryn Herbert, in the final, it was the second time in a row the Taihape Open woolhandling final had provided a maiden victory.

There were 167 shearers and woolhandlers across the grades, and the 126 shearers included more than 40 from overseas, including competitors from throughout the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Falkland Islands.

There was a particular success for Marton shearer Aaron Bell, who won the Senior shearing final and who will represent Cook Islands at the World shearing and woolhandling championships, among representatives from 32 countries at the big event in ILT Stadium Southland on February 8-11.

Results from the Taihape A and P Show Shearing and Woolhandling Chasmpionships at Taihape on Saturday, January 28, 2017:

Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 17min 14sec, 60.8pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 17min 30sec, 65.2pts, 2; Murray Henderson (Feilding) 18min 28sec, 67.95pts, 3; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 35sec, 68.25pts, 4; Rikihana Chase (Taihape) 17min 54 sec, 71.85pts, 5; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 18min 41sec, 74.95pts, 6.

Senior final (10 sheep): Aaron Bell (Marton) 11min 22sec, 46.7pts, ; Darren Alexander (Whangamomona) 12min 51sec, 48.75pts, 2; Paraki Puna (Napier) 12min 9sec, 50.35pts, 3; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 12min 47sec, 50.55pts, 4; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 11min 37sec, 53.15pts, 5; Kieran Devane (Taihape) 14min, 56.6pts, 6.

Intermediate final (8 sheep): Anaru Wakefield (Porangahau) 12min 11sec, 46.05pts, 1; Sean Gouk (Taupo) 11min 36sec, 47.05pts, 2; Jeremy Leygonie (France) 12min 2sec, 47.1pts, 3; Ruka Braddick (Eketahuna) 12min 1sec, 47.68pts, 4; John James (Wales) 12min 9s, 48.83pts, 5; Laura Bradley (Woodville) 12min 32sec, 48.98pts, 6.

Junior final (4 sheep): Darren Bryant (Levin) 9min 45sec, 43.25pts, 1; Carmen Smith (Pongaroa) 9min 33sec, 43.9pts, 2; Marie Prebble (England) 10min 25sec, 45pts, 3; Cullum Pritchard (Pongaroa)9min 4sec, 45.45pts, 4; Steve Hetaraka (Napier) 8min 38sec, 46.65pts, 5; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 9min 9sec, 46.95pts, 6.

Open final: Monica Potae (Milton) 62.324pts, 1; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 82.22pts, 2; Angela Walker (Piopio) 84.19pts, 3; Keryn Herbert 96.014pts, 4; Vicki Neil (Aria) 149pts, 5.

Senior final: Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 62.12pts, 1; Adrienne Samuels (Marton) 74.524pts, 2; Danae Sciascia (Taihape) 80.34pts, 3; Ash Boyce (Dannevirke) 84.94pts, 4; Peketai Puna (Napier) 89.66pts, 5.

Junior final: Samantha Pritchard (Pongaroa) 51.87pts, 1; Kama Kora (-) 84.56pts, 2; Cortez Osler (Dannevirke) 86.37pts,3; Crystal Bird (-) 87.34pts, 4; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 91.22pts, 5


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